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See the world through the eyes of

Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012

and more...

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About the Magazine
ISSN: 1920-4205 Frequency: Biyearly Founding Editor and Designer: Monique Berry Editorial Assistant: Jennifer L. Foster

Contact Info
 :
 :  : 1-905-549-3981 |  : 1-905-549-5021

Photo Credits
Front cover courtesy of and Monique Berry (sand). The back cover (Centennial Falls, Stoney Creek, ON) courtesy of Monique Berry. See individual pages for other credits.

Special Notices
1) Perspectives has first rights for six months. Afterwards, authors are free to submit elsewhere. 2) NO PHOTOCOPIES ALLOWED.

From the Editor’s Desk ....................................................................2 Inspirations ..................................................................................3, 18 Mountain........................................................................................... 4 Orogenesis by Jennifer Falkner Quicksand ......................................................................................... 5 Downward Spiral by L. C. Atencio Book....................................................................................................6 Friends? by Teresa A. Karlinski Day-Timer..........................................................................................7 A Cycle of Hope by Von Pittman House ..................................................................................................8 Suburban Souls by Patrick Collins Clock ..................................................................................................9 The Westminster Chime Clock by Donna McDonald Lawn Mower ...................................................................................10 Lawn Mower, in Summer by Gene Fehler Leaves...............................................................................................11 What’s Down There? by Carmen Kiolkowski Soap Bubble .....................................................................................12 Miracle Bubble by Lynda Higgins Table................................................................................................ 12 A Table’s Perspective by Rebecca R. Taylor 3D Film Jungle Flora ......................................................................13 Not for the Lily-livered by Mary Belardi Erickson Corridor ...........................................................................................14 Pathways by Cathy Maynes Spider Web ......................................................................................15 A Spider Web Watches from a Hotel Window by Debbie Okun Hill Black Walnut Branch .....................................................................16 Trust by Jennifer L. Foster Willow Tree .....................................................................................18 Resilient Rebel by Norma West Linder Object Trivia ..................................................................................19

First and foremost, I would like to thank my editorial assistant, Jennifer Foster, who offered valuable assistance with editing, proofreading, and insights along the way. I am highly indebted to her in completing this issue. The second acknowledgment goes to my contributors and readers. To the writers whose talent and unique perspectives makes the content an interesting read. To the readers who support the magazine, and occasionally provide valued feedback. I’ve added a new section called “Inspirations”. When I read incoming submissions, I have always wondered what made the contributor choose the particular object. Then it dawned on me: if I was curious, other writers and readers may be asking that question, too. Hence, the inspiration for the section! My question to the contributors was, “Where did you get the inspiration to write about this particular object?” I think you’ll be surprised at their answers! Keep the ink flowing,

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Below, and on page 18, are the writers’ inspirations behind their object-related submissions.
Orogenesis (mountain): When I was a kid, my family used to go camping in the Rockies every summer. While I always ascribed
personalities to the different mountains (with Edith Cavell the matriarch of them all), I actually got the idea for this piece from watching David Suzuki talking about the life cycle of mountains. And of course learning a new word—orogenesis—was just a bonus.

Downward Spiral (quicksand): I was thinking of the expeditions that adventurous travelers embark on, in which they set out to
find (and admire in awe) natural formations such as volcanic craters and geysers. It struck me as odd that we don’t often hear anything about quicksand in the media, so I felt compelled to write from the perspective of something that wasn’t commonly praised, or regarded as beautiful. At the time, I was also witnessing the devastating effects of divorce when only one subject involved wished to file it. It was clear to me then, that the quicksand would be the one who was being left behind, and that the man had lead her on by stepping on her territory, and had soon realized that he only liked the quicksand at first, due to what she seemed to be, not due to what she really was and had always been.

Friends? (book): A creative writing class and serendipity introduced me to Monique Berry and Perspectives Magazine in 2011. I am
impressed by the calibre of innovation and artistry in these pages. Choosing a book as an object comes from observing books and readers around me. I’ve had a love affair with books since I discovered the library at the age of eight. Abuse and disrespect of them saddens me. How's your relationship with books?

A Cycle of Hope (Day-Timer): The idea of writing about a day planner occurred to me recently when I turned from Outlook back
to the type of Day-Timer that I had used in the 1980s. To my surprise, it has worked much better for the scattered and varied schedule I have developed in retirement. I thought back, also, to the times that I have decided to “get serious” about controlling my work flow. Partial success is better than no success at all.

Suburban Souls (house): I love Franz Kafka's work. I enjoy examining how our survival instincts pan out when applied to strange,
unworldly things beyond one’s scope. I started thinking about the fears and anxieties that would plague an object like a house, and thought there might be something interesting to explore in a personified building.

The Westminster Chime Clock (clock): I inherited my ‘haunted’ mantel clock, which has always done what it wants. Once
when my mother was visiting, the clock started to chime and then stopped when she left. At the time, it was stored in the basement. The clock chimed when we moved it to our new house; the chime was removed but we still heard it. Some things belong to the unexplained, but have their own charm.

Lawn Mower, in Summer (lawn mower): I wrote a poem “Elegy for Frog” when I recalled a moment when my sister was
thirteen years old. She was mowing the lawn and accidentally ran over a frog. She claimed to be so upset by this that she used it as an excuse for never mowing the lawn again. After writing “Elegy,” I thought it would be fun to write from the lawn mower’s perspective. Interestingly, it actually remembered running over that frog.

What’s Down There? (leaves): I always write my ideas down in a book. The idea about the leaves was actually placed in a little
diary a long time ago. I was sitting on a verandah, watching the leaves falling down. It was windy and they were falling quickly; only a few were left on the trees. I wondered at the time, If they could be human, what would they say?

Miracle Bubble (soap bubble): I had the opportunity to observe a child blowing bubbles and noticed the beauty of the bubble
itself, and the pleasure this activity gave to the child. So, I tried to identify with the bubble and asked the following questions:  Where did I come from?  What do I look like?  How do I move?  Where do I go?

A Table’s Perspective (table): I was thinking about different items and decided that a table handcrafted and passed down through
the generations would give me lots to write about.

Not for the Lily-livered (3D film jungle flora): My inspiration came from my having enthusiastically watched many Tarzan
shows as a kid, and then my experiences viewing 3D films. 3D Film Jungle Flora seemed a natural fit for Perspectives.
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Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012


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By Jennifer Falkner



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here is nothing majestic in decay, though people travel from all over to witness mine. It’s not fair to be on display like this. I am crumbling, inexorably into dust and rubble. I am to be brought low, you see. Ever so slowly. And each year, people come to document it with their cameras. Water plotted my destruction, jealous of the heights I reached where I could receive grazing kisses from the stars, known in the darkness as the empyrean kings. Venomous, she sends rains and melting snows that trickle down my sides, scrubbing away at my skin until she created cracks, crevices that widen with the flow every year. The winds are her conspirators, too, buffeting and chafing me with her whips of snow and grit. I have become hoary, not venerable, from this onslaught. I remember when I was part of the humble ocean floor—home for molluscs, coral, anemone. Peaceful and unchanging, rippling gently in the currents. No one paid any attention to me then. I was content to observe the vagaries of sharks and jellyfish.

But a rumbling began somewhere deep below and shuddered and shook its way through me. It shifted the whole world. I stared, frightened, at the cracks that had formed along my length. I was bleeding. The water grew warmer around these lesions; some fish and plants left or died, others took their place. But that was the turning point, the point at which the ground shifted and began pushing me to my peak. Squeezed and shoved and thrust upwards, bleeding obsidian and basalt at each new jolt, I grew taller and taller, until the water didn’t cover me at all. She slipped from my surface like a sheet from a lover’s body. But she did not remain docile. Since then, she has plotted against me and she is used to shaping what she wants. It takes time but her patience is boundless. I barely noticed her ire then and certainly didn’t care. I thought water couldn't harm me as I rose out from under her thumb and the seas receded from view. Men marvelled at my stature, my lofty peaks. They set out with ropes and grappling hooks to reach my heaven-tickling tip. I even
(Continued on page 5)

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allowed some of them to reach it. They wondered at the fossils of crustaceans and other sea creatures stranded on my shoulders and back, thousands of feet in the air. Hard not to laugh at some of their absurd theories. Nor was I alone. Chains of siblings grew up all around me. We sheltered each other from the biting wind, we gossiped and joked. Have a gneiss day, we said. My sediments exactly. Oddly, these quips never got old. We treated each other like equals, even though I was the tallest. I was the stars' darling. One hundred million years. I am wrinkled and hideous. A crone forced to display her ugliness to

the derisory world. And it is agony. The water is winning. She drools her victory down my sides, despoliating my once-proud promontories. I don't look up into the indigo sky anymore. I avoid the stars' flirtations. And this slow stripping away is more painful than the juddering quakes and driving thrusts of my youth. Because it is hurt mixed with humiliation. And what was the point of this slow building up, if it is only to be crumbled away? Is the rest of the world like this? The years accumulate, an accretion of experience that edifies nothing and no one before the slippery slide back into the sea. A creeping diminution to ignoble flatness.

JENNIFER FALKNER is a recent graduate of the University of Ottawa. Her writing has appeared in The First Line, Flashquake, and Fiction FIx. She lives in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

Downward Spiral
By L. C. Atencio
Being multidimensional doesn’t mean that I am coldhearted. I don’t intend to be both—inviting and deadly. We hug with swollen emotions while you panic, sinking more and more. I pull you tighter and suck you deeper toward my heart. All I ever wanted was your love, yet you struggle with me even when my attraction grows. I was always myself; so, why did you have to change after we were married, and you in my house of mud?

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L.C. ATENCIO, a senior at the University of Central Florida, is seeking a bachelor’s degree in English with special emphasis on creative writing. He is an honor student who has received collegiate achievements in the literary field; his essays showcased the hall of fame of advanced literary courses. In 2010 Leandro was the poetry editor of the 13th issue of Phoenix Magazine, which was published last year. His poems have appeared in Aries: A Journal of Art and Literature, Black Lantern Publishing: A Macabre Journal of Literature & Art, and Wilderness House Literary Review. Contact L.C. at

Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012

By Teresa A. Karlinski

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m I not the sexiest thing you’ve ever seen? Do you like my jacket? Don’t be bashful—feel me. You know you want to. I won’t bore you; I’m talented and can speak many languages. When you’re with me, I’ll keep you entertained. If you want to forget your troubles for a while, I’m here for you. Forget the wine, you’ll simply wake up with a headache. But if you stick with me, I’ll show you the world. My heart is on my sleeve—and more. It’s just the way I am. No one will be as open with you as I am. I can be comic, tragic, chilling or serious. The choice is yours. We can enjoy each other. I’m thrilled to be taken to a coffee shop or the park any time you like. You make me feel important. Loved. Being your constant companion gives me the shivers. Who doesn’t like to be lovingly touched? Before you take me home, let’s consider my golden rule. Respect is an essential part of my relationships. You may fondle me into the wee hours and I will still respect you when the sun comes up. I’m not like the other guy in your life with his unwashed hair and beer-soured breath. I’m content to keep you company as long as you need me. Take me and I’m rigid with pleasure, and paralyzed with delight.

o short our time and already you’re impatient for the next best thrill. You laughed, you cried, and hugged me till I thought my spine would crack. How can you be this indifferent so soon? You know I don’t take well to bathtubs but you took me in there with you. I can’t swim. You know what water does to me. I puff right up and afterwards nobody wants anything to do with me. No one likes a complainer but I must speak. Look at me. See these coffee spills, the sprayed food while you were eating? See what the throw-downs on nasty surfaces have done? All of these hurt. Look at my torn jacket— once my pride and joy—so shabby now. It’s what caught your eye, remember? On the other hand, I am forgiving and want to see you happy yet again. Let me introduce you to some friends of mine. Here’s the Stephen King clan. There’s a ton of them; some may make your blood freeze, or your heart stop. There’s Carrie. How about The Mist? Are they too scary? Might I tempt you with The Wind Through the Keyhole, King’s latest? Maybe you’d prefer a little romance instead. I’d like you to meet an old-fashioned type gal, Jane Austen of Pride and Prejudice fame. Maybe Emily Brontë is your type? Have you read her sizzling Wuthering Heights? Too old fashioned you say? How attitudes have changed. I’ve just the book for you—no wait—it’s a trilogy. Every female this side of heaven is lining up for these. Have you heard of Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James? It’s a little risqué for my tastes but to each her own. I’m green with envy, if you must know. I haven’t seen this much drooling since the Gutenberg Press was invented. No, I’m wrong. This is an unprecedented stampede of insatiable readers. Out of this world, I’ve heard. Since you’re finished with me, please give me to a friend. I feel no shame in being passed around from hand-tohand; at least I can make a new friend again. Please don’t throw me into the recycle bin or your dusty bookcase. Respect me enough to meet me halfway. Epilogue t’s not easy being a book. When I’m new, everyone wants me and has to have me because I’m HOT. Even so, some readers have no consideration and set their damp coffee mugs on me like I’m a coaster. Others turn down my corners; I’m not a bed. If you take off my jacket, please take care of it and don’t forget where you put it. Look at my edges—shattered and damaged; I am not a doorstop. And last but not least, once I’ve made the rounds a few times, readers lose interest in me and rush in search of the next best hot-off-the-press book. No wonder I’m sad; we used to be friends but no more. Now do you understand what it’s like to be me?


TERESA A. KARLINSKI is retired, a grandmother, and lives in Stoney Creek, Ontario. She has taken numerous writing courses, the majority at Mohawk College, Hamilton, ON. In 2010, she published a chapbook "Before the Booogeyman". Her modus operandi is the short story. Contact Teresa at

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’m a Day-Timer. My owner, Steve, is the assistant registrar for a small university. Busy and scattered— but not stupid—he knew he was foundering. He admitted this to his boss, the registrar, who offered to pay his registration fee for a time management workshop. Sixty-seven of us ‘lifelines’ were handed to marginal salesmen, weak administrative assistants, and befuddled bureaucrats. I was immediately identified with Steve’s full name and address on my first page. Relief! His life would change! I wanted to squeeze and encourage him. But squeezing anything is beyond both my job description and my physical abilities. I could tell that he was already lusting after an Italian calf’s leather model pictured in the insert that came with the cheap plastic giveaway cover. I knew I’d look better in leather. “Steve!” I yelled. “Covering me with soft Italian leather will make you look more professional when you pull me out of your briefcase.” The other planners in the room could hear my outcry—all except Steve. The next morning began with the registrar’s mid-week staff meeting. I was placed perfectly squared on the conference table with my spine an inch away from Steve’s legal pad. Could it be? I noticed a different man. His shoes were polished. He kept his sport coat on and didn’t loosen his tie. He had even washed his coffee mug beforehand. During the meeting, he spoke confidently without his usual whining and sarcasm. Deftly handling a gold Cross ballpoint with his graceful, almost feminine fingers, he made copious notations in my pages. A week later, the beautiful black calf’s leather cover arrived. I was ostentatiously whipped out of his jacket pocket to confirm dates and notations. For the next two months, he filled me up with entries—some important, many mundane. For several months, I was filled with meetings and events on my pages; Steve planned projects and divided them into discrete action steps. At every month’s end, he jotted notes into me for his subordinates’ personnel evaluations. The man was ready! With my help, he would conquer the office and replace the registrar (if she would ever retire). When December arrived, my body looked like a Christmas tree! Steve made numerous social entries, using green and red pens to decorate my pages with small drawings of candy canes, candles, and Christmas trees. On my December 31 page, I was filled with three dozen New Year’s resolutions. Alas, when the university’s second semester began, I noticed distance in our relationship—Steve was not opening up to me as often. Some meetings passed without a single notation. Some day pages were left

A Cycle of Hope
By Von Pittman

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entirely blank. I became uneasy when he stopped noting haircut appointments and racquetball court reservations. It’s a well-known warning sign among planners. Steve felt that he didn’t need to enter trivia such as breakfast meetings. Family occasions no longer merited entries. He was confident that he could never forget one of his kid’s birthdays or his wedding anniversary. I knew what was happening. He was adopting the pattern of the runner who starts missing days, then weeks, or a Weight Watchers member who stops going to meetings. He conceded that I was necessary but still resented me. I was a crutch. He blamed me for running his life, for telling him what to do, for depriving him of freedom. He could do without me, he decided. And then it happened. I was flung into his lower left desk drawer—a drawer that doesn’t see much use. Stuff comes in, but nothing goes out. I haven’t seen Steve for a year. Once in a while, I see a couple of inches of light. Then something comes flying in, and the light goes out again. But it is not lonely here. I landed within a couple of inches of a four-year old Day-Runner, who introduced me to an ancient Filofax planner that has lived in this drawer for over seven years (he is both wise and entertaining). We talk about the events we once recorded and attended. “Steve was once a platform guest at a gubernatorial inauguration,” the Filofax said. “He even asked the new governor to autograph my page for that day.” My new friend the Day-Runner said, “Steve sometimes exaggerated the success of completed projects. And did either of you guys notice that he has a tendency to exaggerate his expense records?” We reached a quick consensus on that point. We know we’ll be stuck here until Steve retires, or is notified of a tax audit. But our existence isn’t bad. After all, we three planners have each other. Within a couple of years we will get company. A new planner—perhaps representing a brand not already in this drawer—will join us. People don’t change. They will always seek salvation. And planners will just as certainly be here for them.

VON PITTMAN recently retired after a career in Distance and Continuing Education at four major U.S. state universities. He has turned to fiction after thirty-five years of writing for scholarly and professional publications. His stories have appeared in Cantos, Well Versed, the Study Guide, and the recent literary anthologies Storm Country and Deep Waters. Contact Von at

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dropping a pebble in the turbulent pool of suburban pretension—a ripple radiates out from me in the form of white vans, ladders and men with oversized brushes. It's quite a boost to the ego to see everyone emulating you like that. That was all before it came. The first Brownstone. When I first saw the construction crews on the Johnsons' plot of land, I wasn't worried. After all, who were they, mere insignificant mortals, to deviate from the guidelines on propriety that I had laid down? What had I to fear from a single-car family who had lived for so long in my beneficent shadow? I heard that Mr. Johnson had made a gamble in the stock market that paid off big. I'm not sure, entirely; I find it difficult to follow that kind of affair. Too much modern innovation for my old, wine-cellar brain to untangle, I suppose. Regardless, he had done something right, and now my flock of Joneses had a new standard to aspire to. I don't hold it against them. I remember talking with Tuddy that night. “There goes the neighborhood.” She always had just the right witty remark for the moment. I had never realized how much I appreciated her as a neighbor until then. Oh well. It was too late to matter. The construction crews came for her the very next day. They started on her pale blue roof with its delicate ceramic shingles, working down to her canary interior, her cream-colored ceilings, and the dark spidery network of wiring that had been hidden in flaky security by her drywall. There were so many wires. It felt like it took years to pull them all out, after her door was removed and her windows boarded up. I never knew such a small house could have so many black, black wires. She didn't talk to me after that first night. I appreciated that. I had heard stories that sometimes houses can remain lucid for days or even weeks into the process—that slow, agonizing dismemberment called “renovation.” We had never been close, but I felt like she knew the effect it would have had on me to see her still chatting on about our families, the weather and other evanescent joys that the living take for granted, while she literally fell apart. She spared me that horror. It was finally done when they finished blasting away what was left of her foundations—watching all that was left of my friend disintegrate in a loud bang and a bright flash, accompanied by their cruel human cheers. All that was left was a gaping, dark hole in the earth to remind me of what could have been. I've heard them say that they're going to start work on the new house next week, but those people are so unreliable. After Tuddy's demise, it spread all up and down our block. House after house, torn down and wiped from the
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Suburban Souls
By Patrick Collins


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he Joneses they have nowadays just aren't very hard to keep up with. At least, that's the way it seems to me, and I've seen my fair share of families come and go. Two and a half kids, a dog, two cars, family portraits every Christmas like a Jackson Pollock painting with Rolexes and diamonds. Admittedly, they have all of the accoutrements that go with the name. Yet, I just can't help but feel like they're trying too hard. Especially with that extra half a kid. When Mr. Jones came home one day and explained that he had adopted a little person, I nearly lost it. Luckily, I kept myself together—it can be a dangerous thing when a three story house gets caught up in a laughing fit. He said something about giving back to the community or helping those less fortunate or whatever it was, but I knew better. They just couldn't stand to deviate from a statistic. The Tudor Revival next door and I used to stay up late every night, talking. “Tuddy,” I’d say—she always wanted a pet name, and who was I to deny her?—“Tuddy, they sure don’t make Joneses nowadays like they used to.” “No,” she'd reply. “Not one bit of imagination between them.” Honestly, I never bothered to keep track of the names of her tenants. She had termites in a corner of her basement. The realtors always tried to hide it, but somehow the family found out every few months and moved on. By the end, she wasn't much more than a shell, worn down by a procession of renters of all shapes and sizes. It was sad to see her go to pieces like that, really. As much as I wanted to feel empathy, it's tough for someone like me. I'm home to the Joneses. How many houses can say that? I set the trend; I define the height of fashion. When I get painted a new color, it's like

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face of the earth to make room for new, taller, straighter structures. After her, it wasn't so hard to watch the others. I was better prepared. I know they're going to come for me soon. I've heard them talking about it, inside of me. I can already sense them growing indifferent towards me. It's just small things—things that another house wouldn't even think about. A scratch in the paint, a cup of coffee without a coaster, little things. “Don't worry,” they seem to say with their carelessness. “You're not going to be around long, anyway.”

Now I tense up every time I see a van drive by, expecting the worst. I try to prepare myself for it, mentally. The worst part now is the hopelessness. I spend my days dreaming about impossible natural disasters— earthquakes, tornadoes, floods—anything just so that the end can be quick and easy. I pray every night that some careless cigarette butt will start up a fire in my trash, or a drunk driver will wreck an SUV into one of my walls. Please, God, if you're listening now, just let it be over fast.

PATRICK COLLINS is a New Yorker currently on a short break from his studies at the University of Chicago. This is the first time his work has been published. He welcomes feedback and insight of any kind, and he is glad to have had the chance to hone his green literary skills in Perspectives Magazine. Contact Patrick at


ave you heard the Westminster Chimes lately? I play that religiously, unless I am without a caregiver. It takes a special key and just the right amount of turns for my heart to keep working. I keep time in the old way even though you all seem to be speeding up. Now if you’re not too rushed I’d like to tell you my story. I was born in the 30’s when my only competition was the radio. I had an important place on the mantel in those days. Over the years I was ignored and often found myself just stored away, sometimes even in the attic. It seems that I have a new keeper now so I am back keeping good time. However, sometimes I stop for no reason just to remember the past. When that happens they take me apart and fix all my mechanical pieces but the surgeons for this are hard to find. It offends me that electrical and digital clocks with no elegance replace me. Never mind; I am happy just being me. The world we live in now has just gone crazy. I thought in the 50’s those picture boxes called TV might have been the end of it. But oh no, things got worse in the 80’s with something called computers that do so many things they don’t know what they are. Those screens now changed into iPods that don’t even know where they live, moving around all the time. Those poor babies don’t even grow to a decent size. I like to do one thing and know where I live; but, well, all these new kids just ignore me. One thing is for sure—no matter how much time goes by, people still want to keep track; that’s why I think they keep me. It helps to see me to remember the old days and the old ways. I kind of lost my purpose in this world but some folks still appreciate me. I wonder if the other old folks are remembered like me. Thanks for chatting with me. Now I’ll go back and watch time go by. It’s getting late.

The Westminster Chime Clock
By Donna McDonald

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DONNA MCDONALD has had a long nursing career, but she’s never given up her love of writing. She took many writing courses at Mohawk College and attended one year of journalism at Ryerson University. In 2009, she self-published her first book Our Story: A Secret Locket, and is currently working on a poetry book. Donna and her husband are retired, and have a married son.

Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012

Lawn Mower

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Lawn Mower, in Summer
By Gene Fehler

I spend most of my time waiting, stuck in a semi-clean corner of a cluttered garage between a high stack of mismatched lumber and a wall hung with tools seldom used. Nothing disturbs me, except the grass pasted dry in the casing above my still-sharp blades. I rest and dream of the upcoming battle.

And now! I roar into action, coughing smoke from the overflow of oil I'm prone to get. Heads of dandelions spin like helicopters crash landing; grass sprays the yard like a dry, green mist. Power becomes me. Bugs and small animals cower in my path. Some dash for cover. Ah, that frog, though.

Summer. The best of times. To come alive! To challenge the growth of another week and win. Ah, victory! Oh, glory! I return to the garage, to another week of remembering, of dreaming about the next time I’ll be called on to save the day, to right the wrong of unruly grass threatening its sudden rebellion. So I wait. And almost smile.

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GENE FEHLER has had a lifelong love of baseball. He still plays more than 20 baseball games a year (with his grown son on an 18 and older baseball team) and more than 80 softball games a year. When he’s not playing ball or writing or collecting and reading books, he can usually be found playing games with his wife or walking their two toy poodles. Visit his website at, or email Gene at

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What’s Down There?
By Carmen Ziolkowski


s it a dream or do I hear voices? It is late autumn; I can’t sleep. I try resting in the garden on the straw bed under the stars and the moon. There’s an unusual warm breeze. Will it lull me to sleep? The birds should be slumbering, but to my surprise there is a still a chirp, chirp. Are they wishing a good night to each other? Oh what a sweet sound! I wish I had the power of a magician. Then I’d understand their cheet-chat. I am relaxed, comfortable. A gust of wind shakes the few leaves left above me. I hear soft melancholic voices—the other leaves— “We’ve been lucky. We’re still here.” “You’re right. Had good fortune all along.” “Oh! Yeah, to be here on the topmost branch.” “But, I think that we’ll have to go.” “Why do you say that?” “All our sisters have gone. Isn’t that the lot of all of us?” “You know what I heard?” “What’s that now?” “That new leaves take our places. After the snow, when the spring comes.” “Is that true?” “That’s what I heard. So many stories about this and that, but no one ever told us what’s down there.” “It would be comforting to have some idea.” “You’re right, but no one ever came back.” “Maybe we don’t have to go.” “You’re a dreamer. Everyone has to go.” “You mean there’s not the slightest change? I am so frightened of that dark hole! We have always been in the light with the sun, and the stars and the moon at night.” “Are you there, my sister? I don’t hear you! I’m trembling, floating, down…down…in the dark abyss...”
CARMEN ZIOLKOWSKI was born in Italy, and lived in England where she worked as a registered nurse and midwife. In 1955 she emigrated to Canada and later studied journalism. She is a member of the Writer’s Union of Canada, the Canadian Authors Association, the Association of Italian-Canadian Writers, Pen International, Writers Transition, and The Ontario Poetry Society.

Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012

Soap Bubble

Table Page 12

Miracle Bubble
By Lynda Higgins
I am created when your warm gentle breath flows through the magic wand. As I become a light transparent sphere I emit luminescent colours on my spiralling journey UPWARD to form a new heaven. I join in the continuity of time and space to orbit around that brilliant star THE SUN.

LYNDA HIGGINS is the author of Cross Breeze, a book of poems about nature. She lives with her family in Hamilton, ON.
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hristmas is drawing near. A cranberry-scented candle sits in a ring of holly at my centre. The room’s furnishings and I join Emily, Alan and their family to sing holiday carols. The human voices are dreadfully off key but they inspire a celebratory atmosphere. It is early evening and the grandchildren are running around my feet, touching my heart and giving me the best feeling—a sense of belonging. I have many friends including the décor whom I am dazzled with, the tablecloths who keep me warm and safe, and all the serving items. The glistening, silver cutlery at each place setting tries to be thoughtful, but occasionally my oak surface gets pierced by a knife or fork (it only hurts for a minute, and I am quick to forgive

A Table’s Perspective
By Rebecca R. Taylor

because I know that this pain is unintentional). The plates, cups, bowls and saucers visit me daily. My mouth waters as I watch the scrumptious contents, especially at holiday time. I wish I could eat, too—I would love to try a Nanaimo square or Emily’s homemade rolls. If I could sample something, I think my favourite would be the raspberry trifle, each ingredient layered with care, to show Alan’s love. Choosing one dish is hard, as everything looks so delicious. When Alan and Emily light the candle, we know that it is time to enjoy the festivities. I am the centre of attention; I sit quietly and take in the picturesque setting.
Photo credit:

REBECCA R. TAYLOR lives along the St. Francis River in St. Felix-de-Kingsey, Quebec. She enrolled in an online course at St. Lawrence College to prepare her to be a full-time writer someday. Her recent publications have been included in Long Story Short, The Montreal Review, Bread n’ Molasses, Grainews, and previous issues of Perspectives and Christian Perspectives. Some of her work can also be found at Contact her at

Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012

Page 13

3D Film Jungle Flora

Not for the Lily-livered
By Mary Belardi Erickson

Photo credit:

We spot you huddled wearing 3-D glasses having a hunger for Retro; a gutsy Tarzan swings across our screen. You cannot resist us flesh-eating jungle flora, our flowery red jaws inside our lily-like petals. You may as well admit you crave us ravenous flowers blossoming three-dimensionally, veraciously encircling you. It’s our eat-or-get-eaten jungle-drum-pounding premier.

Already, we want a protein snack so don’t offer us your popcorn. In the air-conditioned dark we lusty plants strive within our projector’s light. Out of our celluloid can, our luminous vines and flowers is cheeky verity in photoplay. We may even nibble your ears. We’ll creep toward the back row, crawl round and round, up and down the aisles. Our frightful 3D motion might make you dizzy as our grabby tendrils startle you silly.

MARY BELARDI ERICKSON was born in New Jersey and currently lives in the countryside of Minnesota. Her work appears in various online magazines and in print. Her e-chapbook, Back-stepping Between Two Bridges, is at Mary’s recently released chapbook is While You Blue-step. Find out more at

Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012


Page 14

By Cathy Maynes



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am a corridor, a hallway. Sometimes, I am filled with the sounds of life. I remember one short hallway in a small bungalow where young boys and girls ran back and forth laughing, fighting and shouting. Hospital hallways—always painted with that ugly hospital green and hung with nondescript art—also have their unique sounds. I transported visitors to the nursery where they heard the cries of newborns, or to the rooms of sickness, where the sobs of the weary, the melodic breaths of machinery, and the comforting murmur of nurses softened the quiet timelessness of recovery and despair. At other times, I am filled with sweet fragrances. I remember the tight corridors in the greenhouses of one innocent girl’s childhood. The smell of wet moss, geraniums, the sound of dripping water, the clanging pipes, the intense and unbearable heat of the noonday sun. I was a path between plants. Pretty petunias, glorious gloxinia, tomatoes, asters—all of these I encountered—pulsating with life. The great red hibiscus, the star-shaped stephanotis, the smells of cedar and eucalyptus. Each plant unique, each embedded in memory.

Long ago, I transported many high school teachers and students along my path. The boys with their new bulging muscles pushed against each other, and the girls preened, gossiped, laughed and teased each other. The teachers try to enforce decorum along my hallway with a yellow line down the middle. Everyone to the right! No questions, no arguments. No, sir! Then there are the corridors of doctors’ offices. Some in hospitals, some in clinics, some in private practice. These were the places where young women and middle-aged men spilled out the pain of absurd and abusive childhoods. My paths were a way back into life for some, but they were harsh and difficult to negotiate. It is this maze of corridors I think of now. Not the offices or the people; just the long hallways— opening up and closing off. ver time, I will transport them all—boys, girls, babies, the sick, teens, the young, middle-aged, the old—through the long corridor of the last station. To a place where everything is revealed and understood. I am a corridor, a hallway, a transporter of life. And now I serve and watch. Remember and wait.


CATHY MAYNES is a graduate of Queen’s University in English Literature and Education, and was a teacher for 10 years. She is married 42 years, has 3 children, 9 grandchildren, and is soon to be a great grandmother. Cathy and her husband own a small Calgary business in Alberta, Canada. Writing has been a hobby for years.

Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012

Page 15
What a view we have from our precarious perch on a window sill— center row fifth floor in a quaint village hotel! My mother creator adjusts my shape and I am airborne with silken threads from her spinneret holding tight as she ties a small knot to an arm of the sun connects it to the face of the moon like a swinging bridge a tangle of white lace hovering over their wedding day. Early morning rolls out a sunny carpet and we are witness to their elopement: the way they stroll in unison intertwine their fingers like two periwinkle vines. Their vows spoken in the sunken garden just a few steps beyond the wrought iron gate. Milk-white apple blossoms opening and shutting like apertures on 35 mm cameras. My roomie spider smiles scurries off her sill. So mysterious, these humans! She mumbles, repacking her lunch, my lopsided shape her cobweb cradle in a dusty overnight bag.

Spider Web

A Spider Web Watches from a Hotel Window
By Debbie Okun Hill

Photo credit: Monique Berry

We move out, leave the honeymooners with their curtained privacy. A haven to spin their unveiled bliss.
DEBBIE OKUN HILL is the President of The Ontario Poetry Society and an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets. Since the fall 2004, over 200 of her poems have been or will be published in 90 different Canadian and US publications and websites including Perspectives Magazine. Visit Debbie’s site at

Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012

Black Walnut Branch

Page 16
you out of harm’s way until you grew up and were ready for—” “Ok, ok. But I’m here; and the others have left. Look at me. Almost a laughingstock. Hear that taunting? It’s my flock of American crows!” Drops of dew from delicate green oak florets above us settle on my cracked bark—a cool salve for my skin on this early June morning. “You could try counting. Prepare for liftoff or something,” I offer. “I’m scared,” whispers fledgling. “It’s only one crazy moment and you’ll be airborne. Those shapely wings and glossy black feathers will help keep you in the air.” “I haven’t done it before.” “But that makes it exciting.” “You try!” “I would if I could. But I’m an old black walnut branch. In my heyday I could bend and stretch. Carry a load.” Those were the days when my walnut tree stretched up and up, I muse. Our main branches reached fifteen metres, then twenty, and finally twenty-four metres at the rounded crown. I could easily see Lake Erie in the distance before my decline began. “I’m the last of the brood,” states fledgling. “You are the smallest. But not a weakling.” “Walnut branch, you’re part nut.” “Nah, you’ve just been here long enough. There’s a big world out there. I think you might be ready.” “But I’m kind of attached to the nest. And you and the other bits and pieces.” “Think about it. Your siblings are already gone. Your mother and father are itching for a change of pace. They’ve been feeding you nestlings for weeks. And we’re all done in.” The new leaves swish in the moist south-west winds blowing off the lake. A fine day is in the making. “I like the view up here. High in the red oak,” pipes up fledgling. “It’s nice looking out at the other trees and the squirrels. Especially the squirrels.” “They have a life. See, they’re busy. Jumping from limb to limb. Running up and down. Checking for last year’s buried treasure.” “Plenty of acorns.” “Lots of nuts in this forest. Characters, too.” “Yeah, it looks like fun,” says fledgling. I tease, “If you look out the corner of your eye, you might see the flying kind, the southern flying squirrels.” “Oh, they’re around here. Down by the sassafras and pale jewelweed, I’ve heard. My parents have cawed about seeing them once. I suppose they’re jealous.” “You just wait! There will be plenty to see. ”
(Continued on page 17)

By Jennifer L. Foster



Photo credit: Jennifer L. Foster

soft rhythmic cadence of hoarse cawing voices reaches my ears. All around me the dance of air, the beating of tiny wings, the electric frenzy of first flight, merge and swell. A young fledgling bathed in spring’s heady scent and wrapped in muted shades of greenery, looks down, opens her wings and hesitates at the nest’s edge while standing on me. It is before the moment of truth. If only for one long, long minute. “It’s an effrontery for your kind not to try, you know,” I say. “What do you know?” says the fledgling. “You’re just a dead old walnut branch.” “Considering your mother walked and sat on me for over two months, and I’ve put up with you and your siblings all these weeks…well, take it back.” “You can’t even fly! And you just lie around like a listless fox snake.” “More like a sturdy stick or rod, don’t you think?” “Well—” “All right, but I’ve kept you safe and dry. Also sheltered from the wind. I’ve been part of your elaborate nest ever since your parents built it. And I and the other crusty branches, moss, the mud, grasses...we were seconded. We’re like your extended family. We’ve kept

Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012

Page 17
Nearby, among the hardwoods, we hear the vigorous drumming of a red-bellied woodpecker. Rat tat tat tat tat!…Rat tat tat tat tat tat tat!...Rat tat tat tat tat!… “I j-just need a—” stammers the reluctant fledgling. “A little send-off? Why don’t you stand on me and the others? You’ll feel better. We still have a little spring in our bones. We weren’t always dead branches. Or scraped off moss, or strips of bark from the red cedars. I started life in the stately black walnut tree just over there.” “Where do you mean?” “Hop over here a bit. Come a little further out… That’s it. Look a touch beyond a white pine in the clearing.” “Oh, yes. Your mother tree. Sturdy,” says the fragile fledgling. She raises her head, opens her yellowy coloured bill, and squeaks a tiny caww caww caww. The fresh scent of pine needles wafts over us while we admire the mature black walnut tree. All is calm until two fledglings fly unsteadily past our nest and just as suddenly drop out of view. “Fledgling?” “What, walnut branch?” “I’ve seen my share of warblers and woodpeckers, but never did I expect to be on the bulky basket of your nest. Nor talking to you, a tender American crow!” “Yeah, but you feel kind of solid under my talons. You’re bent and weathered in spots. It’s a stretch and yet you feel like home—steady.” Fledgling takes another step and then a hop along my ridged back. I feel her talons fasten on me. “Walnut branch?” “Yes, fledgling?” “You’re like my brother.” “Oh.” I feel myself creaking, settling, as the wind moves the uppermost oak branches and nest into which I’m woven. Fledgling balances herself while a leafy mosaic in soft light and shade plays over us. “What will become of you afterward?” asks the young crow. “Afterward?” “Yeah, after I’m airborne. Gone.” “I suppose I’ll dry out a little. Or simply break up along with the others. Eventually, drop through these red oak branches for a new life on the ground.” “Way down there.” “Damp and earthy,” I admit slowly. Fledgling stares intently at me with her blue-grey eyes. “I might not see you again,” she says quietly. “True. You may not recognize me. We all get grounded someday, somehow, by someone or something.” “A change.” “Yes, a change is in the wind,” I reply. “Something new.” “It’s only natural.” “I’ll be me,” says fledgling, lifting her head. “That’s the spirit!” “And you’ll be you. Only different.” The morning sun’s golden rays flicker through the massive red oak. “It’s time,” I hint. “Fledgling?” “I’ll miss you.” “Ahh. Now and then, I’ll scan the treetops and sky for you.” “Brother?” “Be the fledgling you are. Just wing it.” “Walnut branch!?” “If only for one shining moment—fly!”

Photo credit: Jennifer L. Foster

JENNIFER L. FOSTER lives in Hamilton, ON and has explored creative writing since retiring. She graduated from Queen’s University in Honours English and Education. Her poetry for children appears in an anthology, her short stories are in Perspectives and Christian Perspectives, and a haiku appears in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine. Contact Jennifer at

Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012

Willow Tree

Page 18
I am a willow stuck in a muddy patch of unproductive ground somehow I grew. Early in March I was the first tree of all to spring to life. This is my second fall. My deciduous neighbours maples, poplars, ash have given up their leaves they are stripped bare. I have lost much of my glory. I alone hold fast. Just now I felt the frigid winds of winter whip through my branches. But I am a willow I know how to bend. Perhaps next year small birds will nest in my protective arms.
Photo credit:

Resilient Rebel
By Norma West Linder

NORMA WEST LINDER is the author of 5 novels, 9 collections of poetry, a memoir of Manitoulin Island, a children’s book, and a biography of Pauline McGibbon. Her short stories have been published internationally and broadcast on the CBC. Her latest publication is a collection of poems entitled When Angels Weep. She has two daughters and a son.

(continued from page 3)

Pathways (corridor): I have had vivid, memorable dreams since childhood—partly due to trauma, partly due to an overactive imagination.
When a friend introduced me to Perspectives Magazine, I was inspired to write about a corridor that I dreamed of one night.

A Spider Web Watches from a Hotel Window (spider web): The inspiration for this poem came from a poetry contest that required the poet
to use the 10 words listed in the rules. I wanted to try something different, and when I combined the images of 3 of the 10 words (bridge, precarious and intertwine) I thought of a spider spinning a web. Several years ago, I had written a short story in the voice of a spider and thought it would be fun to do the same thing with a poem. When the poem was not accepted by the contest judge, I decided to rework the verses for Perspectives.

Trust (black walnut branch): A lone male crow visited my birdbath this spring, not just to drink and bathe but also to dip his prey and
carrion—rodents and small birds—before tearing and eating. When he spotted me, he would fly up to a pine branch to eat in private. In June he brought three fledglings to the lip of the birdbath. They stared with their blue-grey eyes into the water and stepped gingerly around the edge— unsure of what to do. This led me to think about crows nesting habits and the beautiful native trees of the Carolinian forest zone, which in southern Ontario, curls around the western end of Lake Ontario and stretches north of Lake Erie. American crows sometimes use dead branches from black walnut trees to build their bulky stick nests in oak trees—the spark for my story.

Resilient Rebel (willow tree): The willow tree I wrote of graced my backyard for many years. It once held a tree house for my son and his
friends, and offered a home for birds. I was actually in tears when it grew so old it had to be cut down, but it had become brittle and dangerous.

Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012

Page 19
Object Trivia
Mountains: Until the Romantic writers began to eulogize them at the end of the 18th century, mountains were generally considered ugly

and forbidding. The 17th-century poet John Donne called them “warts on the earth”.
Quicksand: In 1875, an entire train sank into quicksand in Colorado and was never found again, even though probes were sent 50 feet

Books: The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into

account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
Day-Timer: The Day-Timer story began with a manual printing press in a chicken coop in a small town near Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Warren Dorney, bought the press to print labels for his business. In 1947 Morris Perkin, a local attorney, realized that he needed more information about his work day than could be provided by a simple appointment calendar. So he designed his own system, which he called Lawyer's Day. By 1952 Perkin needed a commercial establishment to handle the printing of Lawyer's Day for him, so he approached the Dorneys—and changed all of their lives.
House: This term is 20th century American. It originated with Arthur (Pop) Momand's Keep Up With The Joneses comic strip in the New

York Globe. The strip was first published in 1913 and became popular quite quickly. By September 1915, a cartoon film of the same name was touring US cinema. The 'Joneses' in the cartoon weren't based on anyone in particular, and they weren't portrayed in the cartoon itself. Jones was a very common name and 'the Joneses' was merely a generic name for 'the neighbours'.
Clocks: On the anniversary of his murder, Henry’s mournful wraith is said to appear as the clock ticks towards midnight, and pace

fitfully around the interior of the Wakefield Tower until, upon the last stroke of midnight, he fades slowly into the stone and rests peacefully for another year. Also, a possessed watch or one that has been cursed by unseen forces or even haunted by a real ghosts, can and do pass from generation to generation. These haunted timepieces often only react to certain individuals and may be laying in wait for the perfect victim to haunt or curse.
Lawn Mower: In 1997, Ryan Tripp (a 12 year old boy), set a world record by riding a lawn mower 3,116 miles from Salt Lake City, Utah

to Washington D.C. Ryan's purpose for this incredible endeavor was to raise money for a baby in his hometown that needed a liver transplant. Ryan raised $15,000.
Leaves: The reason leaves fall off in the autumn is due to the water they contain. When winter comes around, the leaves will freeze,

causing harm the internal part of the tree. In fall, the trees develop a type of seal or barrier between the branch of the tree and the stem of the leaf. That way when the leaves fall from the tree, the tree’s branches will be protected from the cold.
Soap Bubbles: Soap bubbles blown into air that is below a temperature of −15 °C (5 °F) will freeze when they touch a surface. Holly (table): A wreath with holly, red berries and other decorations began from at least the 17th century. Holly, with its sharply pointed

leaves, symbolized the thorns in Christ's crown-of-thorns. Red berries symbolized the drops of Christ's blood. A wreath at Christmas signified a home that celebrated the birth of Christ. And in Spain, a table was set for Christmas Eve dinner with two tablecloths: one for the ancestors of the family, the other for the living members as in pagan times, ancestors were believed to be benevolent spirits who, when shown respect, brought good fortune.
3D Film Jungle Flora: 3D technology is based on human vision: it mimics the way we see the real world. When you look at an object,

each of your eyes sees a slightly different view of that object. Through a process called stereopsis, the brain "fuses" the two images into a single 3D image.
Corridors: Stripped of its occupants, furniture and various decorations, the Pentagon is an extraordinary structure. Despite 17.5 miles of

corridors it takes only seven minutes to walk between any two points in the building.
Spider Webs: Many webs are between objects, such as across water, or between large tall spaces, that spiders cannot cross by walking.

To overcome this, spiders send a fine thread into a slight breeze which is blowing in the right direction until it catches on the far side. Then they slowly and carefully walk across this single thread, spinning a second thread as they go—and build on from there.
Black Walnut Branch: In Ancient Greece, the walnut was referred to as "The Nut of Jupiter," as its vast array of attributes made it worthy

of the gods. And, during World War I, the hardy wood of the black walnut was used for making airplane propellers. NASA has put powdered walnut shells to use as thermal insulation in rocket nose cones; the powder can withstand extreme temperatures without carbonizing.
Willow Tree: According to a popular myth, it is said that the tree once stood erect and strong. However, the death of a pair of lovers so

touched the heart of these trees that their branches drooped in misery and could never rise again.

Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012

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Perspectives Magazine ~ July 2012

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